Andrew Berlanstein - Class of 2010
Why did you choose this major, and does/did it seem like the right major for you? Why?
I chose sociology because I was catching myself already thinking in sociological ways and the prospect of diving into different social phenomena and issues in detail really peaked my interest. To put it simply I decided to major in something that I enjoyed learning about rather than something to help set me up with any specific career-- it was one of the best decisions I can remember making.
Why did you choose NU? Was/is this the right school for you?
Like so many others I chose NU for co-op. I was always a hands-on learner and the co-op model fit my personality and goals perfectly. That combined with an interesting student body and a beautiful urban campus in the greatest city in America solidified that decision.
How many co-ops have you completed?
I completed 2 co-ops.
Can you list the companies and give a quick synopsis of what you did?
My first co-op was as an Admissions Assistant at the NU Admissions Visitor Center. I acted as a pseudo-admissions counselor, as well as tour guide manager. My duties included everything from giving tours and answering questions about courses, credits, and admission to actually interviewing and hiring tour guides and volunteers, as well as directing an admitted-student calling program called Phonathon.
My second co-op was as a Marketing and Operations assistant at Ciclismo Classico, an Arlington-based European bike tour operator. There I did a lot of administrative stuff like maintaining a database and fielding customer service calls, but I also got to attend some really cool events where we would promote cycling advocacy and spread the good word about our tours.
If you participated in co-op, what were the highlights/great learning opportunities you gained?
I enjoyed both my co-ops but the most valuable thing I learned after completing them was what I WASN'T interested in doing and that was sitting at a desk! I knew that I needed to work in an active, young, exciting industry that was different from day to day. Towards the end of my second co-op I had started home brewing my own beer, a hobby which became an obsession and lead me to a part-time job during my junior and senior years at the Sam Adams brewery in Jamaica Plain. From there I was able to make the leap to more affluent positions with other craft breweries.
Did you have any other "learning from outside of the classroom" (service learning, student leadership, study abroad, research, or volunteering) that also enriched your time here?
I did a Dialogue of Civilizations which was easily one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I went to Belfast in Northern Ireland to study the conflict there and intern as a political aide for Northern Ireland's Alliance Party, the only party consisting of members from both sides of the conflict. Not only was a great learning and work experience but I had a chance to explore Northern Ireland and get familiar with the traditions and lifestyle there. It was really a life-changing experience for me and the other students there, something I definitely won't forget.
Have you Graduated from NU? If Yes, please let us know what you are doing and if you think your co-ops and experiential education have helped you in your career path. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have graduated. I am currently the Chicago Market Manager for Duvel Moortgat USA/Brewery Ommegang, Belgium's second largest brewery and owner of America's premier Belgian style brewery in Cooperstown, NY. Our portfolio of premium Belgian style ales includes the finest Belgian beers from 6 of the most well-regarded breweries in the world. I am responsible for brand management and distribution expansion in the greater Chicagoland area. I can't say my co-ops directly related to my work today, but my co-ops did give me direction and allow me to find the craft brewing industry and a job therein before I even left Northeastern. That is way more than my friends from other schools can say about their career paths. Co-op also gave me the professional experience necessary to apply for more advanced jobs, as well as the interview and resume crafting skills needed to land those positions with ease. At 24 I have worked for 3 major craft breweries and rubbed elbows with many of the most important players in the global beer industry. Pretty cool.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I'll say this: Northeastern was invaluable in helping me figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my life. College students around the country are constantly facing themselves with the ultimate question of "what do I want to do?" Northeastern provides the tools that can help students answer that question. At the very least it provides the skills to allow its graduates to try new things and find out for themselves what it is they want out of their careers. For me it was beer, but for others it's law, business, public policy, non-profit, education... you name it! Northeastern gave me the competitive edge to achieve my goals and leave me with one of the coolest careers imaginable.
Questions Answered as of 8/2/11